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Experienced Brussels/Brugges travelers--need your input

Experienced Brussels/Brugges travelers--need your input

Apr 18th, 2003, 06:35 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 514
Experienced Brussels/Brugges travelers--need your input

We're arriving in Brussels at 8:30 AM after flying from Atlanta. After reading several guidebooks and the posts on this board, we have decided to head directly to Brugges, where we have a reservation at The Artists B&B, Number 11.

I have some questions:
Best way to get from Brussels Airport to catch the train for Brugges?

Has anyone here stayed in room no 1 at the B&B?

How long is the train ride from Brussels to Brugges? How often do trains leave?

What are the must-sees for mid-May?

After a day or so in Brugges, we'll train back to Brussels, then on to Paris. I get the feeling that highlights of Brussels can be seen in less than a day, especially since I would not plan to visit any museums. I'm really more eager to head on to Paris, but don't want to miss the key points.(I know that you can't truly experience any city in a day, but I really haven't been highly moved by guidebook descriptions of Brussels. I'm willing to listen to experienced posters' opinions.)

I speak a reasonable amount of traveller's French, but no Dutch or German. Is English spoken widely in Brugges?

Thanks in advance, Barb
Barb_in_Ga is offline  
Apr 18th, 2003, 09:10 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 82
I just checked the train schedules, and there seems to be a way for you to take the train directly from the airport (with one train change) to Brugge. I have never flown into Brussels airport (I fly to Amsterdam instead), so I don't know the details. The train ride should take you about an hour and a half.

The one true must-see for Brugge is the Groeningemuseum (I know you said no museums for Brussels... what about Brugge?). Other than that, just walk around, cruise on the canal, climb the Belfort, savor some chocolates--enjoy the city. It will be very crowded--May's definitely tourist season there. English is widely spoken, and French ... well... Speaking French isn't exactly frowned upon, but often people will understand you better if you speak to them in English. Personally, I've never seen any outright hostility towards French speakers in Flemish-speaking regions, but in some parts of Flanders (not in Brugge, though), things can get tense. Brussels is a totally different story; speak French all you like (and if you don't, English is widely spoken there as well).
sansdieu is offline  
Apr 19th, 2003, 02:36 AM
  #3  
 
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Hi Barb,
You can't get a train directly from the airport to Brugge. Take the airport express from the airport to one of the three main Brussels train stations then pick up a train to Brugge. To get the train at the airport, look for the signs and take the elevator down to the lowest level. You can buy a ticket there; you can ask to buy a ticket to Brugge at the ticket booth there, but last time I used the airport train they weren't selling them. I suggest taking the airport express train all the way to the Gare du Midi because I think it's the easiest of the three main stations (Brussels Nord, Gare Centrale and Midi) to get around in. If you have to buy your ticket to Brugge there, go to the Service Interieur ticket section.
From Brussels Midi the trip to Brugge is 50 minutes. The train will stop at Ghent and then Brugge. There are two trains per hour; they will be marked as heading to Ostende or Knokke. They usually leave from tracks 13 to 16.
If you are arriving on a week-end, I highly suggest you get 1st class tickets; 2nd class can be VERY crowded. Brugge itself also can be mobbed on week-ends; you will enjoy it much more on a weekday. Two restaurants in Brugge we recommend: RockFort and Den Gouden Harynck. Number 11 can book tables for you.
Of the sights in Brugge, our favorite museum also is the Groeninge. A canal boat tour is usually fun.
For your daytrip to Brussels, take the train to the Gare du Midi where you can store your luggage either in lockers or in an attended left luggage area. You will be catching your train to Paris from that station anyway, so it's more convenient. The Grand'Place is the main sight in Brussels, but we also suggest visiting the Sablon. The Mannekin Pis is underwhelming.
English is spoken widely in Brugge but any attempts at Flemish/Dutch will be appreciated. French is the dominant language in Brussels.
BTilke (Brussels)
BTilke is offline  
Apr 19th, 2003, 09:00 AM
  #4  
 
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Hi Barb,

I just love Brugge because of the Medieval atmosphere and the canals. It�s mostly a pedestrian town and small enough to cover in a couple of days. Everyone is so friendly and helpful. Besides eating chocolate, my favorite sights in Brugge include:

1. the Beguinnage � this peaceful area of whitewashed houses amid poplar trees was founded in 1245 by Margaret of Constantinople, Countess of Flanders, to bring the Beguines together, many of whom were widows of the Crusades. In 1937 the beguinage became a monastery for the Benedictine sisters who continue to live here today.
2. Church of Our Lady which contains a Michelangelo white marble sculpture of the Madonna and Child.
3. The Godshuizen � late Medieval houses. In the 14th century rich families and companies of Flemish cities built houses for poor and needy widows and widowers and sometimes for guild members who had lost their income or were unable to work.
4. Basilica of the Holy Blood - the Lower Chapel is 12th century Romanesque. The Upper Chapel, Chapel of the Holy Blood houses a phial, thought to contain a few drops of the blood of Christ which was brought from Jerusalem to Brugge in 1149.
5. Canal boat tour
6. Diamond House
7. Lace center where you can watch the women make lace

adrienne
adrienne is offline  
Apr 19th, 2003, 11:38 AM
  #5  
kjl
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 30
Barb,

Just returned from Brugge 2 weeks ago.
We stayed at the Artist's House, Number 11. Our room was No. 2. All I can say
is you are in for a treat. I cannot say
enough about Annie and her wonderful
B&B. The rooms are all beautifully
appointed. Annie's breakfast is to die for!!! Hand pressed juice and coffee,
wonderful assortment of pastries, soft boiled eggs, an assortment of Ham and cheeses. I guarantee you will love your stay at Number 11.

Brugge is just a wonderful, magical and mystical town. The townsfolk are just as gracious as ever and English is widely spoken as is French.

As far as trains go we took the train from Paris to Brussels and transfered in Brussels to Brugge. The trip is about 45 minutes. The trains leave every hour for Brugge and reservations are not needed. When you arrive in Brugge make sure to stop at the visitor
booth and buy the Brugge tourism map for .20Euros. It's a great map and I
learned of that through this site. We took a cab from the station to Number 11, its about a 5 minute ride and the cost was 7 Euros I believe.

Once you arrive at Number 11, Annie will also give you a map and guide you through where to go and what to see.
Annie will also make dinner eservations for you if you wish. We loved Rock Fort
and I highly recommend it.

The town itself is just beautiful. make
sure to pick up the Tourist Guide Booklet at the TI located at the Burg.
It's a wondeful guidebook for 1 Euro with several walking tours.

As posted by others make sure to visit
the Beguinage, Basilica of the Holy Blood, Church of Our Lady ( here you can see the sculpture Madonna and Child by Michelangelo), and if daring climb the steps of the Belfry. We also walked
via the tourbook to the Windmills. The canal boat ride is a must and youi can also take a horse/buggy tour as well.

The best frites in town are located
in the Markt. Just look for the little
green wood shed. To die for!!! Make sure
to drink the Belgium Beer as well...too many to choose from. The best place in town is called t'Brugs Beertje, over 350 varieties.

I have some wonderful photos of both Number 11 and Brugge and would be more than happy to share with you. If interested just email me and hopefully I can send them via email to you.

Have a wonderful time in Brugge and Paris!!! You are in for a real treat!!
kjl is offline  
Apr 19th, 2003, 11:47 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 167
Hi Barb,
We stayed at number 11 two weeks ago. We had rooms number 2 and 3 and they were wonderful. Total comfort! We saw the room number 1 as Annie gave us a tour of all the rooms and it looks wonderful also. Agree that you will totally love Number 11 - can't say enough about how great Annie is and how comfortable and relaxing the B&B is! Have a great time. English is widely spoken.
swissgirl is offline  
Apr 19th, 2003, 07:48 PM
  #7  
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Posts: 514
Thanks everyone for such great input! I'm counting down the days--just 23 to go. My husband loves hearing about the info and we're looking forward to a great trip.
Barb_in_Ga is offline  
Apr 21st, 2003, 09:57 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,642
KJL, please note there are two trains per hour to Brugge, not one. And I'm glad everyone is enjoying Number 11!! (I take a little pride in that since I was the first one here to recommend it <g>)
BTilke is offline  
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